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    Shigellosis is a highly contagious enteric bacterial disease transmitted through the fecal-oral route. It is primarily transmitted through person-to-person contact and via contaminated food and water. Outbreaks of shigellosis among men who have sex with men (MSM) attributed to sexual person-to-person contact have been reported. These outbreaks are of concern because they are often caused by multidrug-resistant strains of Shigella. Little is known about shigellosis-related knowledge, attitudes, and practices among gay, bisexual, and other MSM. Six focus groups were conducted among self-identified gay or bisexual men in Atlanta, GA, in Fall 2017. Participants were asked about shigellosis-related knowledge, attitudes, and practices. Focus groups were audio recorded, and the transcribed audio was analyzed using inductive and deductive thematic coding. Among the 24 focus group participants, most perceived that diarrheal illness was caused by contaminated food. Knowledge of shigellosis and Shigella was low, with most never having heard of the disease or bacteria. Participants did not perceive shigellosis to be a serious health concern, especially when compared with HIV; however, they did perceive gay and bisexual men to be at risk of Shigella infection. Participants reported mixed intentions to change sexual behaviors to prevent shigellosis or talk with sexual partners about diarrhea. Health communication and education efforts could be used to increase knowledge about shigellosis and shift perceptions about the severity of shigellosis among gay, bisexual, and other MSM. Additional work is needed to identify effective ways to promote shigellosis-related prevention behaviors among gay, bisexual, and other MSM.

    Citation

    Elise Caruso, Eric R Wright, Ebony Townsend Respress, Steve L Evener, Kathleen Jacobson, Anna Bowen, Rachel Kachur, Amanda Garcia-Williams. Shigellosis Among Gay and Bisexual Men: A Qualitative Assessment to Examine Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices. Sexually transmitted diseases. 2020 Sep;47(9):596-601

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    PMID: 32569257

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